UN Sustainable Development Goal

Affordable and Clean Energy


user photo Submitted by Sum Ning Koh
Date published: 21 Jul 2017
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40 Solar panels generate 60% of electricity

Overview South of Johnston – SOJO for short is the first solo project for Stuart McKenzie, one of three owners formerly at Mart 130, the tiny cafe that forged its reputation in a stationmaster's hut at Middle Park light rail station. That was then (eight years ago) when ''we were all babes in the woods'', McKenzie says. Innovations Located in the environmentally conscious neighborhood of Collingwood, South of Johnston on Oxford Street is Australia’s first generate 60 per cent of SOJO’s electricity from the solar panels. The popular warehouse cafe has no fewer than 40 solar panels on its roof, which were installed in 2014, and these supply the restaurant’s entire heating and cooling requirements. Owner Stuart McKenzie also says that all green waste goes through a complex recycling system before being shipped off to a chicken farm. Out front, plants in recycled wooden crates create urban orchard with local residents encourage to pick as they pass or may find staff picking fruit fresh, including lemon and kumquat, for their meals. They also grow a lot of plants to attract bees and lessen water runoff in the area. Skylights create a lot of light rather than globes and they use low-wattage LED globes in the lights. All these ideas are easily undertaken and they want to lessen the environmental impact the business has on the planet as much as possible. “Be kind to the planet, it nourishes us”, Stuart stated. Inspiration Bravery and kindness has inspired him. Clever people that want change and stand up for those that are unable to do so for themselves. Overall impact They have worked to integrate as many sustainability initiatives as possible across the restaurant. There was some set up costs for the solar panels but most is just being organized. To them sustainability is about logic. It is about asking the question as to how things can be done in the most efficient way with the least impact. Installing solar panels helps combat greenhouse gas emissions and reduces collective dependence on fossil fuel. Business benefits Reduced costs, customers like it and make them feel better about their impact, Mckenzie added. Come down for brunch and leave with peace of mind that your breakfast won't be adding to the world's food waste and recycling problems, says Stuart. Social and environmental benefit Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change, accounting for around 60 per cent of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Solar power systems derive clean, pure energy from the sun. Traditional electricity is sourced from fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. When fossil fuels are burned to produce electricity, they emit harmful gases that are the primary cause of air pollution and global warming. Solar also reduces the need for finite resources, as solar energy is renewable. By generating electricity with solar panels, it produces no greenhouse gasses, which will ultimately reduce carbon footprint and negative environmental stresses. Switching to solar today is the best way to hedge against the reality of finite fuel resources.